10.07.2009

PIA News Service - Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009

World Day for Decent Work: TUCP calls for decent work, decent life

MANILA (October 7) - TUCP leaders engaged DOLE Secretary Marianito Roque and PEZA Director General Lilia de Lima in separate meetings for a dialogue and hand-over of the World Day for Decent Work’s Call to Action for Decent Work, Decent Life!

“Everyone should endeavour to place Decent Work at the core of development, economic, trade, financial and social policies at all levels. Decent Work should be promoted in every workplace, in every community, and in all institutions, be it private or public, in-country or overseas,” notes Democrito Mendoza, President of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines. 

October 7 is World Day for Decent Work where trade unions all over the world pushed for the Call to Action of seven key demands. It is a call on government and decision-makers, including international financial institutions for:

o inclusive strategies for full and productive employment, 
o promotion and protection of workers’ rights, 
o social protection, 
o changes in unfair trade rules, 
o rationalization of debt servicing, 
o increase in the level of overseas development assistance (ODA) from rich countries which imperative to reach the UN Millennium Development Goals, and 
o protection of migrant workers.

In the Philippines, TUCP led the campaign which includes a hand-over ceremony of the Call to Action for “Decent Work, Decent Life!” to the respective Secretaries of DOLE, DTI, NEDA and the Director General of PEZA. Similar regional activities were held in Regions III, IV-A, VII and XI. TUCP is set to meet with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Thursday.

Similar union-initiated hand-over ceremonies were held with the European Parliament, the Office Social Affairs Commission of the African Union; Organization of American States (OAS); the International Departments of IMF-World Bank and IMF at its scheduled meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, and, with the International Department of the WTO in Geneva.

Since its launching in 2007, 15 high-level political and institutional representatives including ILO Director-General Juan Somavia , UN General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan, European Commission (EC) President Manuel Durao Barroso and a number of Labour Ministers have indicated their support and signed the Call to Action.

“All stakeholders should join hand for the creation of employment. Stable and quality jobs make for a healthy economy. And we must promote and protect workers’ rights to form and join trade unions and bargain collectively. These are fundamental to decent work,” says former Senator and TUCP General Secretary Ernesto Herrera.

“Even before the current crisis, while GDP continuously increases in real terms, the lives of workers and their families have not improved. There is large unemployment and underemployment and inequitable distribution of income and wealth. 

Affected by the financial crisis and recently, by typhoon “Ondoy”, we cannot tolerate “business as usual”. Workers, their families and communities are most affected. Over 5,000 members of the TUCP had been laid off so far due to closure of factories damaged by the typhoon. We hope this is not permanent. In these times, decent work is even more important,” says Herrera. (TUCP/PIA-Surigao del Norte)
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LAMPCO: DREAMS... and Beyond Border
By: Joie L. Ceballos

From a remote inner-barangay of Agusan del Sur’s capital town, Prosperidad, exhibits an emerging picture of success as the Los Arcos Multi-Purpose Cooperative goes beyond the borders of its town with its Developing Resource through Entrepreneurship and Alternative Management System (DREAMS).

LAMPCO-DREAMS is a micro-finance project by DAR-Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Project (DAR-ARSIP) Phase 2 in partnership with the Baba’s Foundation which aims to provide alternative loan assistance especially for the farm production activities of the members of the community. Formally established last 24 June 2006 with only P200,000.00 equally shared by Baba’s Foundation and LAMPCO, the project was able to generate P22,417.00 net income at 2.5% interest rate with 100% repayment rate after 10 months from operation. Today, LAMPCO DREAMS have gone beyond its usual borders as it served 178 loaners.

DREAMS influenced LAMPCO’s existing Individual Liability Loan to prosper which by now is serving eight (8) nearby municipalities, one (1) city covering 432 loaners with a total loan exposure of P1.4 million.

Humble Beginnings

In 1994, about 34 farmers in Brgy. Los Arcos, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, 12 kms from the national highway passing through a non-cemented road, initiated the birth of the cooperative. This birth is driven by crisis manifested by high- priced inputs and low market price of products due to manipulation of traders. The cooperative started with only P2,300 capital build-up from members.

Like most organizations, LAMPCO also had its own share of downfall. Between 1998-1999, the cooperative was in slumber as effect to several issues ranging from leadership, financial management and lack of capital.

However, determination, positive thinking and strong-willed leaders maintaining a certain standard of credibility made them survive. Today, LAMPCO has 445members, P695,641.00CBU and over P3.6M total assets.

DAR’s Intervention

A total of 301 members of LAMPCO are recipients of Emancipation Patent and Certificate of Land Ownership Award from DAR.

Aside from land titles, the coming of the Agrarian Reform Support Project in 1998 paved way for more support service interventions like Agro-Forestry, Potable Water System, Pre and Post-Harvest facility, and Carabao Dispersal projects.
The Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project—Phase 2 (ARISP-2) provided Agri-Development Support and technical assistance in running the micro-finance project. ARISP-2 also link the cooperative to the Baba’s Foundation which becomes LAMPCO’s partner in its DREAM program.

LAMPCO was the sole recipient in the entire province of the information technology project of DAR in partnership with the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) called the E-Agrikultura. This package includes an internet-ready computer facilities with internet access, printer, digital camera and photocopier which will be used for research, business opportunities, publishing and information access. With these internet facility, LAMPCO was able to access tie-ups with other support groups leading to the latter’s provision of agricultural projects to LAMPCO such as cattle and goat items and cash amounting to P50,000.00

Community pay—off

Realizing the importance of health and sanitation towards a peaceful and progressive community, LAMPCO served 97% of barangay Los Arcos with its potable water system. Each covered household will pay a minimal cost of P10.00 per month to serve as reserve fund for operation and maintenance cost.

Each year, LAMCO allocates an amount to contribute to the barangay local government to be used for their programs on health, education and peace and order. (DAR)